October 21, 2014

Courthouse security keeps busy

You might be surprised at what people try to bring into a courthouse. Courthouses have become more secure, with the public checked for dangerous or illegal items before they’re allowed into a courtroom. At the Portage County Courthouse in Stevens Point, officers have not seen much decline in the number of inappropriate things people try to bring in.

“We will check people who set off the metal detector, to make sure they’re not bringing in firearms or knives,” said Chief Deputy Sheriff Daniel Kontos. “It’s amazing the number of people that still try to bring things through the security checkpoint.”

The courthouse was built long before security became an issue. The public can access the first floor as always, but the second floor, where the courts are located, has had a single point of public entry since 2011. Kontos said, while no guns have been intercepted yet, the items that have been found include knives, baseball bats, brass knuckles and pepper spray.

In 2012, courthouse security officers screened over 42,000 people, uncovered almost 850 weapons, and handled nearly 100 disturbances.

Larry Lee, WSAU